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Monday Morning Update 3/24/08

March 22, 2008 News 6 Comments

From Fresh Prince: “Re: P4P. There are several patient satisfaction measures in P4P that makes it a horse of a very different color. Medicare will hold back 5% of total Medicare payments, then you have to ‘earn’ it back through quality measures, like patient satisfaction surveys. I think it’s inevitable that it will turn hospitals upside down more so than DRGs in 1983. Think about this: you can give the patient the best medical care on the planet, but if he/she has to wait four weeks for an appointment, gets bumped due to ER cases, or has to sit outside X-ray for an hour, do you think they’ll say they are satisfied? Oh yeah, and what about that hospital food? There isn’t an HIS system out there ready to deal with it.”

From Artie Lange: “Re: eClinicalWorks. eCW may have implemented their systems in MA, but looks like they aren’t working. I wish you would have asked their CEO a question on this.” Link. Reported here earlier – Mass BCBS says EMRs aren’t worth the cost to doctors. But, that has nothing to do with eCW or any other EMR not working. In fact, it says the opposite – that EMRs provide value to everybody except the physician who’s expected to foot the bill. I agree that I should have asked Girish about this – it’s a conundrum that isn’t going away soon and I bet he has an interesting take on it. Maybe he’ll respond.

From LaToya Jackson: “Re: Walnut Creek. I’ve heard that there is a big Epic implementation going on in Walnut Creek, CA. I think this would have to be Kaiser or John Muir. Kaiser is a known Epic site but, I thought that JM was a McKesson shop. Anyone know who is doing the project?”  

Intercepted e-mail snips about Misys/Allscripts: “Misys has a huge client base running the old +Medic/Tiger product. In the new environment this old COBOL based system cannot survive for long. Just think of the product mix/mess these guys are in. +Medic/Tiger, Misys Vision PM, Misys EMR, Healthmatics PM, Healthmatics EMR, Touchworks EMR (and all the jumbled pieces that make up Touchworks), Imedica. What the heck will they be selling, and what will they sunset? [A Misys rep who lost a deal] had offered a 60% discount!!! … The two ugliest people in town just got married, and it’s scary to think of what the kids are going to look like.” A bit exuberant, perhaps, but I tend to agree in general. Few will buy until the dust settles, which will take at least a year. Neither company was exactly tearing it up on sales, so now competitors have another weapon to create FUD in the minds of those hospital CIOs and big practice administrators who tend to buy stuff like theirs. Does having Misys involved make Allscripts more attractive to prospects or vice versa? It wouldn’t to me.

To put the Allscripts dilemma into perspective, here’s how the shares of some publicly traded HIT companies did over the past year, sorted from best to worst.

Eclipsys – up 2%
Dow Jones Industrial Average – no change
McKesson – down 3%
Nasdaq Composite – down 8%
Quality Systems (NextGen) – down 18%
Cerner – down 31%
QuadraMed – down 36%
Misys – down 41%
Allscripts – down 66%

The two worst-performing companies will hold a shotgun wedding, with the one that’s burned through 2/3 of its shareholder value in the past few weeks providing all the management talent under the board oversight of former competitor that’s down 41%. I’m not seeing the magic, especially looking at the science fair of products soon to be under one roof. People keep talking about “footprint” and “combined sales”, but what would make you like the two companies combined that you didn’t like about them separately? Or, what synergies will help them boost sales against the same formidable competitors like eClinicalWorks, e-MDs, athenahealth, and NextGen? Sure, the Misys customer base has low EMR penetration, but so does the entire industry – that doesn’t mean they’re going to buy an EMR from Allscripts or anybody else, especially at high prices. Allscripts keeps trying to sell vision instead of results, while Misys just wants to protect its big but steadily eroding maintenance revenue from old sales. And the kicker is that fickle investors who were quick to bail out on Allscripts will now have even higher expectations for the MDRX/newco shares after all the flowery talk about synergies.

So, here are my predictions. Odds that the Misys/Allscripts merger will get shareholder approval (especially with John McConnell as a major MDRX shareholder): 60%. Odds that the proposed management team will survive a year intact: 40%. Odds that the market cap of MDRX will increase in one year after the deal closes: 20%. But, I’ve been wrong before.

Jobs: Business Intelligence Analyst Developer, Senior Network Analyst, Senior PR Account Executive, Sales Executive – Healthcare IT. Sign up for weekly job alerts.

I messed up a couple of Inga’s links in the last issue, so those are fixed now. It wasn’t a devious ploy to get more readers for Scott Shreeve’s blog since that’s where the links mistakenly pointed.

Great idea: the Michael J. Fox Foundation offers up to $1 million in grants for the development of web-based clinical assessment tools for patients with Parkinson’s disease, which will allow clinical research to be performed without the burden of patient travel. Proposals are due May 14 and funding will be available in October. Thanks for that tip from the guys at Healthcare IT Transition Group, who also report that their cartoon announcing the HISsies winners has been viewed more than 2,000 times (the connection being, of course, that they portrayed Jonathan Bush as Marty McFly from Back to the Future in the cartoon because he kind of looks like MJF).

UCLA’s psych hospital, fresh off the Britney Spears debacle and a new incident where patient photos were published on a social networking site, bans cell phones and laptops.

Guess HIMSS gave up on the idea of blogging live from the conference. Its HIMSS Live! site now brings up a “page not found” error, although HIMSS still owns the domain. And speaking of fun domain name facts to know and tell, who knew that Cerner has pre-emptively registered CERNERSUCKS.COM?

Speaking of HIMSS, I checked the hotel site for HIMSS09. The cheapest Chicago hotel is $225 a night. I may Priceline it since that’s worked before.

A couple of folks expressed interest in producing something about medical device connectivity. I’m thinking we could put together an informal white paper for CIOs from multiple viewpoints. If you’re interested in helping, e-mail me. I’m curious to see if we can harness the collective knowledge of HIStalk’s readers to create something useful for the industry.

Inga wants me to brag on how well she and I are doing (for now) in the unnamed vendor’s NCAA basketball pool. We may have peaked Friday night, when a lucky Siena pick over Vandy (time for McKesson to buy the team?) propelled me to #1, with Inga right on my heels at #3. She was quick to conclude, “You and I are clearly geniuses.” Some bad luck since sent us to #2 and #8, respectively, and I’ve got some early losers going deep that will hurt me. I’m thinking of handicapping the pool by choosing schools that aren’t on the Most Wired Hospitals list.

Speaking of Inga, she’s in touch with HIStalk’s sponsors regularly and reminded me of something important. Some sponsors are interested only in page views and ad clicks like with any other advertisement (which is fine), but many/most of them support HIStalk because they believe in what we do. I can’t explain how gratifying that is. Magazines and other online sources would kill to have our loyal sponsors and readers. Just in case I haven’t said it lately, I sure do appreciate it. Thank you.

Deborah Peel renders an opinion on the data mining agreement signed by genetic medicine vendor Perlegen and an unnamed EMR vendor, calling it The New Tuskegee.  I want to know who that EMR vendor is. Everybody seems to be beaming about their data deal, so let’s name names. If you know (and especially if you have documentation to prove it), use the confidential Rumor Report to your right to tell me about it. It’s ironic that the EMR vendor is demanding privacy about its deal to sell patient information.

British researchers are working on an enhancement to the Da Vinci robotic surgeon that will allow it to be controlled by the surgeon’s eye movements.

Rural hospitals in Tanzania are using the Internet, scanners, and digital cameras to connect with a referral hospital for telemedicine services, important in a country where transportation to the hospital can cost several months’ of the average wage.

It took a TV station’s intervention, but a Sentara Norfolk ED patient finally gets his medical record corrected to show that he had not, in fact, delivered twins there.

SafeMed, a San Diego decision support engine vendor, will provide Google Health’s drug interaction and treatment recommendation capabilities. Former Amicore CEO and Microsoft manager Richard Noffsinger is CEO. For those who say nobody ever sells anything at the HIMSS conference, Google execs happened to pass SafeMed’s HIMSS06 booth in San Diego and asked for a demo, which was followed by a deal.

Harris Corporation gets an HHS contract to plug federal healthcare agencies into the Nationwide Health Information Network.

I’m sure it will offend someone, but I’m still wishing you a Happy Easter in a non-denominational, rabbits-and-eggs sort of way.

E-mail me.

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Currently there are "6 comments" on this Article:

  1. “British researchers are working on an enhancement to the Da Vinci robotic surgeon that will allow it to be controlled by the surgeon’s eye movements.”

    Keep Inga out of the operating room. You wouldn’t want the surgeon to be distracted during YOUR prostate operation.

  2. RE: Riding the UCLA link: Let’s see now; first it was Rush Linbaugh’s pharmaceutical therapy, Dennis Quad’s unfortunate medical misadventure with his infants, George Clooney & company sustains a boo-boo, Britney Spears has a hissy, ad nauseam…

    Correct me if I am interpreting our favor regulation incorrectly (HIPPO, I mean HIPPA), but isn’t the Office of Civil Rights suppose to levy fines and threaten incarceration for unlawful actions against the privacy laws of our country’s “protected health information?” It appears to me that “protected” health information is becoming the ex post facto oxymoron for patient medical information; maybe we are all getting our facts confused with “personally identifiable information.”

    Let me see again, which is more highly protected – PHI vs. PII? For being a self-proclaimed professional student, I am embarrassingly self-admitted stupid or just severely confused. I personally like the example Mr H sets for being highly cynical across the board.

  3. Am working at a site that is installing Eclypsis Sunrise Clinical Manager for all of the hospital and ambulatory front end. Apparently they are going to implement version 4 first and then a couple months or so later move to version 5. There are many chicken littles running around saying that SCM cannot serve, as it is planned to do, for a front ambulatory patient scheduling tool and that in version 4, there is no capability to provide automate patient insurance plan eligibility checking. Any idea of places where both of these are implemented and what is the scoop on the relative ease of upgrading to v5? Just trying to get some reality. The project team is committing the classic sin of not communicating widely on the good, the bad and the ugly and what to do about it. Also, a frequently praised HIT consultant from this site was in and completely glossed over the issue.

    Me, I plan on saying my peace and avoiding any “I told you so’s” too counter productive but still it looks like a slow rolling disaster of an implementation and probably not the vendor’s fault.


  4. To: LaToya Jackson Re: Walnut Creek. The Epic implementation is definitely not at John Muir. We’re implmenting Cerner for our medical group, and our IPA docs are implementing a variety of systems, primarily NextGen.

  5. Speaking to EMR resistance by physicians: In a recent visit to my dermatologist, as I watched him inputing my information into the large medical group’s Epic EMR system, I chatted a bit with him about the process. I was stunned when he declared that the whole idea of an EMR was “dumb.” He couldn’t find a word more reflective of his advanced education or offer a further explanation to his curt reply? Nope. Talk about not being onboard!!

  6. About the whole EMR adoption debate – the way I see it is that EMR is just a tool and if it is first a good tool and if used properly in the right application, it will indeed work and provide value.

    In speaking with friends who are physicians here in the Boston area I get a wide range of opinions which in the end substantiate my view. One of my friends who works in two different facilities states that in one, the EMR is great and really simplifies his life and helps avoid medical errors. In another institution where he works, the EMR is horribly disconnected from reality and useless.

    Thus, I don’t see physicians necessarily adverse to using EMR, but like any of use, they are adverse to using something that just doesn’t make life a little easier.

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